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Have a Teen With Metal Braces? Study Shows They Should Be Extra Careful Putting Their Phone Up To Their Head
According to the American Association of Orthodontics, over 4.5 million people have metal braces right now. And over 80% of those people are teenagers! We all know these teens likely have something else constantly connected to them... their phones!
In fact, a recent study shows that almost half of teens admit to being on their phone "almost constantly".
But did you know that the combination of braces and cell phones might actually be dangerous? The Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice recently released a study that looked at the effects of mobile phone usage on nickel levels in saliva of people with braces... and the results are fascinating!
Here's why kids with braces should not be holding their phones to their heads!
Why metal braces?
But before we go into the study- you might ask, "Why metal braces?" With the rise of alternative teeth straighteners like Invisaligns and "clear" ceramic braces, are people even getting traditional braces anymore? Yes!
The majority of patients (especially under 18) are still going with metal braces - and here's why:
- Cost: Most dental insurance companies cover a much higher percentage (if not all) of metal braces compared to the other options - especially for kids! Out of pocket costs are much higher on solutions like ceramic or Invisaligns.
- Effectiveness: Braces can do things that plastic aligners just can't! Aligners are limited where braces can make major movements at a quicker rate.
With that being said, let's look at the study
Here's why they did it:Well, most braces are made up of around 8% nickel. We already know that braces can increase nickel levels in the body, but they wanted to find out if phone usage could make it worse! Here's what they said:
"Over the past few years the obsessed usage of mobile phones has caused concern because of possible adverse effects from exposure to radio frequency-emitted radiation. Nickel is known to cause frequent hypersensitivity reaction compared with other metals."
So many people lately have become aware of the dangers of heavy metals - and we certainly don't want to give our kids something they are going to have to detox from later... According to the National Institute of Health, high nickel levels in the body can cause the following symptoms: Contact dermatitis; headaches; gastrointestinal manifestations; respiratory manifestations; lung fibrosis; cardiovascular diseases; lung cancer; nasal cancer; epigenetic effects.
What they did:
- They gathered 60 people (30 women & 30 men) between the ages of 18-25 who were undergoing orthodontic treatment with metal braces
- They tested their saliva 3 times
- Initial sample before the experiment started
- Sample after using a cellphone traditionally (speaking with it against your head) for 30 minutes a day for 14 days
- Sample after using a cellphone with headphones for 30 minutes a day for 14 days
** Interesting fact: They chose the 30 minute time frame because a previous study (Arbabi-Kalati et al. ) found that "speaking on the mobile phone for more than 20 minutes showed...an increased risk of inflammatory diseases or oral cancer." Wow!
What they found:
The results showed that there was a significant increase in nickel ion release in saliva with the usage of mobile phones in orthodontic patients. The good news is that that risk can be significantly reduced just by wearing headphones.
The results of our study show that patients undergoing fixed orthodontic therapy should be encouraged to use headphone rather than hand-held mobile devices.
Like we see above, they are correlating this result to the level of radiation from the phone that each person is being exposed to.
You can look at the numbers and all the details in the study here (it's not too long and a pretty easy read!).
What do I think?
Unfortunately, I'm not surprised! We know that the EMF's coming from our phones affect so much in our world and we also know that those effects can be increased when interacting with metal. Since phone are often in such close proximity to our mouths - I can see how adding braces into the mix can become dangerous.
No matter if you have braces or not, I ALWAYS recommend keeping the phone away from your body - especially sensitive areas like your brain. Instead of chatting with the phone right up to your ear, please use wired headphones instead - ideally Airtube Headphones that completely eliminate any excess EMF that might be traveling up that wire. (and no, AirPods aren't any better than the phone...)
If you or a loved one has braces, consider this an EXTRA reason to keep that phone away from your head and protect yourself from the effects of EMF.